The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week

Welcome to our 17th routes newsletter! This week includes a selection of the routes introduced this week. Why not sign up and receive our newsletter in your email inbox every week?

Spirit has had a busy week, with 31 routes introduced, including 19 from Miami, four from Milwaukee, and two from Manchester. Photo: via Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Miami calling! Spirit begins 19 new routes

Having launched Miami in October with nine routes, a further 19 have taken off this week: Barranquilla, Boston, Cali (where the brilliant cake photo below was taken), Chicago ORD, Cleveland, Comayagua, Dallas DFW, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Houston IAH, LaGuardia, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Philadelphia, Raleigh Durham, San Juan, and San Pedro Sula.

Looking to January, Spirit will be Miami’s second-largest airline, although with ‘only’ a 5.5% share of the seats for sale, such is the domination of American Airlines. Spirit will have 305,000 round-trip seats, along with 925,000 at nearby Fort Lauderdale, its largest airport.

Spirit Miami
Spirit flies once-daily between Miami and Cali. Photo: Cali Aeropuerto Internacional Alfonso Bonilla Aragón.

Alaska adds Belize from Seattle & Los Angeles

Belize doesn’t just have a new operator in the form of Alaska Airlines. It also has a new longest route – the 2,821 miles (4,539km) link from Seattle. Introduced on November 19th by Alaska Airlines, flights run on Fridays and Saturdays with a block time of nearly six and a half hours to Seattle. In 2019, around 14,000 round-trip passengers transited between Seattle and Belize City.

The same day saw Alaska also begin Los Angeles-Belize City. The carrier has four weekly flights and competes head-to-head with American’s once-weekly offering. United will join the fray in mid-December, also once-weekly.  This winter, the airport-pair has 105 outbound flights, the most ever and up from just 15 (!) in winter 2019.

Alaska Belize City
Cake, champagne, and Garifuna drums welcomed the arrival of Alaska Airlines. Photo: Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport.

Allegiant inaugurates 31 new routes

Allegiant has introduced 31 routes in the past week. Among these were nine from Austin (Amarillo, Louisville, Orange County, Palm Beach, Provo, Punta Gorda, Sioux Falls, Springfield (MO), and Tulsa), the result of Allegiant opening the Texas capital as a base with three A320s. Allegiant began serving Austin in October 2013.

This week, Allegiant also started Washington Dulles, a brand-new airport for the airline. It currently serves Jacksonville twice-weekly, while a second to Sarasota, also twice-weekly, will begin on December 18th. Allegiant has added six routes from Phoenix-Mesa and four from Palm Springs, including the 1,693-mile (2,725km) link from Nashville.

Allegiant Washington Dulles
Dulles is now part of Allegiant’s route network. Photo: Washington Dulles International Airport.

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Spirit takes off on 12 extra services

Supplementing so many new routes from Miami are 12 Spirit additions from other US airports. These include four from Milwaukee – with once-daily flights to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Phoenix, and Tampa – plus three from St Louis, two from Louisville and Manchester, and one from LaGuardia. The latter is to Phoenix, served only on Saturdays to meet the perimeter rule requirement.

Milwaukee celebrated its new routes in style, with cookies, first flight certificates, and fun Milwaukee swags. Airport Director Brian Dranzik said: “It’s great to see so many “It’s great to see so many passengers taking advantage of Spirit’s low fares and new destinations. Our travelers are excited to beat the winter blues, and we’re so thrilled to see them here.”

The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week
Photo: Milwaukee Mitchell “International Airport.

The Bahamas rejoins Virgin Atlantic’s network

Another Caribbean destination is now part of Virgin Atlantic’s network, following the commencement of Heathrow to Nassau on November 20th. With two weekly flights using the B787-9, the service routes Heathrow-Nassau-Montego Bay-Nassau-Heathrow. It leaves the UK at 09:35 and arrives back at 10:35 the following day.

The Bahamas was last served by Virgin between June 2005 and July 2007 from Gatwick using the B747-400. The carrier has reintroduced Nassau from London because of high premium leisure demand. It competes head-to-head with British Airways’ six-weekly service.

Virgin Nassau
Virgin is back in the Bahamas after an absence of 14 years. Photo: Virgin Atlantic.

Qatar Airways introduces Kazakhstan

Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, is now connected non-stop to Doha, with Qatar Airways flights on Mondays and Fridays. Operated by 132-seat A320s, QR391 leaves Doha at 00:55 and arrives at 08:15 local time.

The aircraft spends all day on the ground and leaves as QR392 at 21:55, arriving back at 00:10 the following morning. It is scheduled for connections (and for the same crew to return), with the point-to-point market obviously small, at fewer than 5,000 round-trip passengers in 2019, excluding any who travel to/from Dubai instead.

Qatar Airways Almaty
Almaty is Qatar Airways’ only destination iAirways’l Asia Photo: Qatar Airways.

St Augustine gets Newark service

One Florida airport that gets little attention is St Augustine. Located in-between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, Northeast Florida Regional Airport has welcomed a new (and for now its only) route: Newark with Elite Airways. Operating on Mondays and Fridays, it uses N900EA, a 90-seat CRJ-900 that routes Melbourne-Newark-St Augustine-Newark-Melbourne.

St Augustine is an attractive catchment with 1.4 million people within one hour, Florida’s highest median income, more HQs located closer than Jacksonville Airport, and history, golf, food, and beaches. It has strong leakage to multiple cities across the north and the northeast US that seek to be served.

Speaking at the launch, Bruce Maguire, Chairman of the St. Johns County Airport Authority, said: “These new flights from Newark allowing visitors from the northeast direct, low fare access to all that St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and The Beaches have to offer. This is an exciting time for the Airport Authority, and I am proud to welcome Elite Airways as an official partner.” (Photo: Northeast Florida Regional Airport.)

St Augustine to Newark
Greater New York City is “ow connected to St Augustine. Photo: Northeast Florida Regional Airport.

New Zambia service for Air Tanzania

The 832 miles (1,339km) between Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, anTanzania’sn Zambia, is linked once more. The honor goes to Air Tanzania, with three weekly flights by the 132-seat A220-300, with 12 seats in business and 120 in economy.

Zambian Airways previously operated it between March and October 2008, followed by Interair from August 2014 and October 2015. Ndola is Air Tanzania’s second destinatiTanzania’sia, after Lusaka, the capital.

Air Tanzania Ndola
Ndola is Air Tanzania’s second destinatiTanzania’sia, after Lusaka, the capital. Photo: Zambia Airports Corporation Limited.

That’s it for the 17th edition of our routes newsletter. To get something like this in your inbox every week, please sign up for our weekly routes newsletter.